Police on Tuesday identified a 21-year-old man as the suspect who opened fire inside a crowded supermarket in Colorado in an attack that killed 10 people, including an officer, and sent terrorized shoppers and employees climbing for protection.
Authorities said Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was from the suburb of Arvada in Denver and that he participated in a shooting game with police Monday afternoon inside the Boulder store. The suspect was treated in a hospital and was expected to be booked in the county jail later in the day on murder charges.
Investigators have not determined a motive, but authorities believe he was the sole shooter, said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty.
A law enforcement official who was informed of the shooting told the Associated Press that the shooter used an AR-15 rifle, a light semi-automatic rifle. Officials tried to track down the weapon. The official was not authorized to speak in public and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Hundreds of Denver police officers responded to the attack and converged at a King Soopers supermarket in a busy South Boulder shopping mall.
SWAT officers wearing ballistic shields slowly approached the store as others escorted rescue people away from the building, which caused some of its windows to be smashed. Customers and employees fled through a loading dock to safety. Others sought refuge in nearby stores.
“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Dougherty said. “These were people who shopped during the day and shopped. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will ensure justice. ”
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold identified the killed officer as Eric Talley, 51, who had been with the force since 2010. He was the first to arrive after answering a call about shots and someone carrying a rifle, she said.
“For all intents and purposes, he was one of the most prominent police officers in Boulder, and his life became too short,” Dougherty said.
Dozens of police and emergency vehicles, with their lights flashing, escorted an ambulance with the slain officer from the shooting scene after the evening. Some residents stood along the road, with their arms in greeting.
The other deaths varied between 20 and 65 years. They were identified as Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.
The attack in Boulder, about 40 miles northwest of Denver and home to the University of Colorado, stunned a state that has seen several mass shootings, including the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and the Aurora film shooting in 2012.
Monday’s attack was the seventh massacre this year in the United States, following the March 16 shooting that left eight people dead at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
There follows a calm in mass deaths during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, which had the least number of such attacks in eight years, according to the database, which tracks mass deaths defined as four or more dead, excluding the shooter.
Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat whose district includes Boulder, said Tuesday on “CBS Tomorrow” that “enough is enough” when it comes to political passports that prevent gun control laws from passing Congress.
“The time for passivity is over. It does not have to be that way. “There are proposals for reforms of the gun legislation that have been discussed in Congress for far too long,” Neguse said. The arms lobby and so many others have stopped the ability to make meaningful reforms in the past, but that is no excuse. I think Americans are tired of excuses. ”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that US houses are victims of violence who say “enough is enough.”
“Measures are now needed to prevent this scourge from continuing to plague our communities,” she said in a statement on Tuesday, citing House passage of two bills for background checks. These bills are now awaiting the Senate.
“While we wait for further information on the details of this heinous crime, we continue to stand with victims, families and young people across the country and say, ‘That’s enough. “”
Sarah Moonshadow and her son, Nicolas Edwards, had just bought strawberries inside the supermarket when they heard shots. Moonshadow told The Denver Post that they ducked and “just ran.” Outside, Edwards said, arriving police pulled up next to a body in the parking lot.
“I knew we could not do anything for the guy,” he said. “We had to go.”
The video, which was published on YouTube, showed one person on the floor in the store and two others out on the ground. What sounds like two shots is heard at the beginning of the video.
Investigators had just begun sorting at the crime scene and conducting witness interviews, Dougherty said.
Matthew Kirsch, the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado, promised that “the full weight of federal law enforcement” would support the investigation. He said investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the scene along with FBI agents.
President Joe Biden announced that flags would be lowered nationwide in memory of the victims – an order that comes just as a previous flag-lowering proclamation went out for those killed in the Atlanta area shootings. Together, the two orders mean almost continuous national mourning for almost two weeks.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement that the state had seen “the face of evil.”
The King Soopers chain said in a statement that it offered prayer and support “to our employees, customers and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation.”